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Should "they" gift our kids Black dolls?


In Episode 029 of the Naked Proverbs podcast, Rich and Nik Scott discuss the importance of representation.



Nik:

Welcome back to the Naked Proverbs podcast where we unclothe the truth about Black love family and marriage. My name is Nik Scott, one of your hosts, and I'm here with my husband,

Rich:

What's going on? It's your boy Rich. And today we're going to talk about the importance of representation.

Nik:

Right at the beginning of every episode, we always remind our listeners that we are not trained, licensed or professional therapists or counselors. We've been married for quite a while. So, we like to use Naked Proverbs as our platform to share our advice, our experience, our stories, and of course, our opinions.

Rich:

If you haven't already, make sure you subscribe to the Naked Proverbs, and whatever platform you listen to podcast on, and if you like what you hear, show us your love and support by becoming a patron. But we also want you to show us your love by giving us a five-star rating.

Nik:

That was my part.

Rich:

I know but you take so long.

Nik:

Okay.

Rich:

As always, each week, each episode, we'd like to start off by saying thank you to our listeners, we wouldn't be here without you.

Rich:

So, this past week, there was a lot of comments, articles, Facebook post about Honey Pot. Honey Pot is a plant based feminine care, feminine hygiene company. They produce different products for women. And if you didn't know, it is owned by a Black female entrepreneur.

Rich:

And at the end of February Target ran an ad that had this entrepreneur in it, and she made a statement at the end of the ad. I mean, honestly, I'm not gonna lie that was not even that memorable to me. And maybe it's because I'm not, you know, it's not targeted to me. But, you know, I mean, I thought it was a nice ad, but it was a typical Target ad to me. But for Black history, they chose to have this Black entrepreneur that has a product in their stores share about her product. And then she basically made a comment that was based around she would like to see more African American women become entrepreneurs. And there was so much just, craziness that came out of that comment.

Nik:

Which blows my mind. Because first of all, Black people have been looking for a space to promote and expose and create and be permitted to be ourselves for decades, right? Black History Month came about a long time ago. And there was an uproar about that. I remember when BET started when I was little like I was little when I remember when BET started, and people were mad that it was called Black Entertainment Television to the extent that it's not even really called Black Entertainment Television anymore we just know it as BET. And so, we're in 2020. Right? And I think BET is 40 years old, Black History Month has been around for shoot, I don't even know how long, more than 40 years and we're in 2020 and we have people who are mad because someone is saying, I want to see more of people that look like me. Little girls who aspire to be like me in Target like, what kind of person gets mad about that?

Rich:

I'm gonna read actually what she said. What she said was the reason why it's so important for the Honey Pot to do well, so that the next Black girl that comes up with a great idea could have a better opportunity. That means a lot to me.

Rich:

And that's basically how she wrapped up her ad because in her ad, she was just talking about, you know, what it's like to be the founder, you know, it was really I felt like a really nice ad, and we'll post it for our patrons. But ultimately, people started calling her racist, and saying that her products apparently weren't for anybody but Black people, or Black women, because not Black people, but black women. That's not what she said. Like she didn't say anything about my products are only for Black women or you know, anything like that. She was just saying that ultimately, she wants to see more Black girls, women get into entrepreneurship.

Rich:

I read an article, because when I tell you this is everywhere, I'm talking Forbes magazine is writing articles. I mean, it’s on every channel. I mean, it is everywhere. Google it. If you don't believe. Everybody's talking about it. And so, when I started reading one of the articles it talked about, I believe that it's like .0006% of crowdfunding is for African American women entrepreneurs. So, we're talking less than a penny is going towards crowdfunding for Black women to become entrepreneurs. And that's crazy.

Nik:

It is crazy. And I don't understand how having pride in your culture, and again, like I said, wanting to see your people, your family, your cousins, your friends, advance. I don't understand how that's racist. I don't understand how someone can take what she said, and maybe it's because she used the words Black girl, and that's what people hung on to like, oh my gosh, she's only out here for the Black girls. No, she's not only here for the Black girls. She's is here representing Black girls because she was a Black girl. And let's be clear, she probably never even knew that something like this was possible for her. So, for her to want to come and use her platform, to encourage the next generation to inspire, and to motivate, not even the next generation, but people in her own generation her own peers, like look at me, you can do this too. That's not racist. That is showing pride in your culture. And you know, we've talked about this before how being a Black person in America, it is a culture. We have a culture and I don't think there's any wrong, anything wrong with promoting that and celebrating that. And for someone to get offended by that, like, is that our problem? Or is that their problem?

Rich:

It's always only one person can have this right. So, it's always this mindset of well, if we have more Black girl entrepreneurs, that means we can't have little white garage No, no. It's not a one person gets to move forward and the other person doesn't,

Nik:

Right.

Rich:

You know, if we have more disabled people that are getting jobs, that means non-disabled people can't get jobs. No, that's not what we're saying. Like there's enough for everybody to eat. I always say that in my business, you know, and I believe that there's more than enough for everybody to eat in America, there really is. There's more than an abundance. But instead of seeing it that way, it's always a competition of, well, if we move this group forward, or if we move women forward, if we move vets forward, then that means I have to miss out as a man, that means I have to miss out as a non-vet. That means I have to miss out as, no, that's not true.

Rich:

And I think that it's unfortunate that when we have these opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, we instead see them as a attack on our opportunity.

Nik:

Well, let's be clear it's never an issue when we're talking about disabled people, or veterans or women, it's only an uproar, and people get mad when it's someone of color, especially Black people, when we say Black Lives Matter. Then it's like, why don't other lives matter? We didn't say their lives didn't matter. We didn't say other little girls couldn't become entrepreneurs. We just said, for this particular moment right here right now, I'm celebrating my people. And this is an epidemic in entrepreneurship in the way that these opportunities are allocated, in the, in the way that crowdfunding is happening in the way that investors are investing in businesses. This is an epidemic that Black businesses, Black women, Black lives are constantly pushed to the side and overlooked. And there should be conversation and there should be attention drawn to this. And anyone who chooses not to educate themselves about the topic and feel offended by it, then I would encourage you to really do some self-reflection and check yourself.

Rich:

Because you brought up Black Lives Matter. You know, because there were spin offs, Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter. And I'm in full agreement that those things are true. I have many friends that are in the police force, and their lives do matter.

Nik:

All lives do matter.

Rich:

Reality to me is all their lives, I don't care if you're a policeman, a fireman, or fire person, I'm sorry, police person. I don't care if you are Black, white, green, purple. All lives do matter. But there was a reason for the Black Lives Matter movement, which was, there seemed to be from many people's perspective a lack of respect for the Black life. And I feel like you know, when we talk about Black lives, and we compare that to other lives, people are imprisoned falsely, where they are murdered without ever being given an opportunity to even have their day in court. People that comply and still die. You know, so for me, I just I feel some kind of way when people start to All Lives Matter,

Nik:

And dilute the message.

Rich:

and take away from the message. Because it's like, listen, there wouldn't even be a need for Black Lives Matter if Black lives actually mattered.

Nik:

If there was a respect and a compassion and attention given. It's not about equality, right? I think that's the argument that should be brought to the table when we're talking about Honey Pot is, you know, is equality, right? She's saying it's not equal representation here in Target so, I'm here for the Black girls, and I want my Black girls to understand that this is something

Rich:

you can do this too,

Nik:

that you can do this too.

Rich:

Right.

Nik:

Exactly. So, I think that when we start to turn the attention away, and it's a purposeful thing, in my opinion, it's a very purposeful and intentional thing to turn people's attention away from the actual message and the meaning of what's being said.

Rich:

I mean, because I think that's a great point. Because when, even now we're not talking about the lack of representation in the sense of Black female entrepreneurs, we're talking about racism.

Nik:

Yes.

Rich:

We're talking about her products for Black people only. We're talking about all these other topics.

Nik:

Yep.

Rich:

But we're not talking about what she actually brought up, which is there's a lack of representation in the sense of Black entrepreneurial women being given the same opportunities at these major corporations to have their products on the shelves, or to have their books on the shelves or whatever that thing is that they're doing, they're not getting the same kind of funding, they're not getting the same types of opportunities.

Rich:

So, which leads to generational loss of wealth, which leads to generational losses, whether people realize it or not, because when my young girls don't have the opportunity, and it's not until my great grandchildren that have the opportunity, we've lost multiple generations of building that entrepreneurial spirit or the funds from that, or whatever it is.

Rich:

So, I think it's like you said, it's very important to not miss the target of what the conversation should really be about. Because ultimately, if you don't know with this, there were all these negative reviews that were basically bringing her five-star rating down trying to ruin her business. And then of course, you know, there were people that were like, well, I'm gonna give positive ratings. Ultimately, they turned off the ratings because they were like this is ridiculous. We got people who've never even used the product making positive and negative ratings. But once again, we ended up getting off of what the subject should have really been around.

You're listening to the Naked Proverbs podcast with Rich and Nick Scott. If you like what you're hearing, show your support by becoming a patron. All of our patrons receive exclusive benefits like behind the scenes content, access to bonus audio, and Naked Proverbs merchandise. To learn more and to become a patron visit the Naked Proverbs Patreon page at www.patreon.com/nakedproverbs

Rich:

So, recently I read an article and this lady asked a question it was one of those, let me ask a question and get some feedback kind of articles. And the question I'm gonna read it to you was, if my white child is giving her Black friend a doll should it also be Black? And I believe that is a wonderful question. I love the fact that she even asked, and the article is very interesting.

Nik:

Tell us more about the article.

Rich:

Give us mo. Give us mo.

Nik:

Yeah.

Rich:

Are you not entertained?

Nik:

Yeah. Tell us about the article. So, this lady so, it was obviously a white woman who has a white child?

Rich:

Right.

Nik:

And so, the white child has a Black friend?

Rich:

So, technically, here's what was going on.

Nik:

Okay.

Rich:

You know, the mother was saying that her child is young, you know, like, school age but young like elementary, and she said she usually doesn't pick gender specific toys or gifts. But she does allow her daughter to pick out whatever that gift is. And she said that her child actually goes to a school that is rich with ethnicity, and diverse people of many multicultural aspects. I said that really good.

Nik:

That was great.

Rich:

Yes. And that's not what she said. What she said was, my daughter goes to school with a lot of African American students. And it wasn't like she was saying in a bad way, she was just saying, hey my child goes to a school with a lot of American kids. And one of our friends is a African American female. And the mom was just trying to find out, she was like, well, I don't want to be offensive, and give a little white baby. But also, don't want to make assumptions here and assume that this child has to have only Black babies to play with. She's like, because honestly, her child has, you know, black babies, white babies. I think she said even Hispanic baby.

Nik:

Wow.

Rich:

And because I mean, you know, she sound like she's a very open minded parent, which I thought was really cool.

Nik:

Yeah.

Rich:

Right. And so ultimately, what she was trying to find out was, what's the right thing to do? Because she didn't want to be offensive in any kind of way. And the lady that responded to her, was like, you know, I love the fact that you're answering this, asking this question. I love the fact that, you know, we're having this dialogue. And she began to talk about the importance of representation. And she basically gave the advice of yes, you should buy a little black girl, a little black doll. And she explained that, you know, because she was probably our age or older, how when she was a child, she didn't have that option, that there were no Black baby dolls in the stores. And then, of course, she began to talk about other areas of where there's a lack of representation,

Nik:

Right. I love the fact that she's asking this question. And I think that the fact that she's even asking this question speaks to the progression that we have had in our country and in our society, and in our media, to where someone of the quote unquote majority would even pause to even think that this matters to someone other than herself. Right? And, and I think that the commenters right when we were younger, there were options, but there weren't very many options. And I agree with the woman who answered the question. Yes, it definitely does matter.

Nik:

It is so very important that we surround our children with images that look like them. Right? Because they're not being surrounded by them very many other places. The media is full of imagery that would suggest that the European standard of beauty or the European standard of physical appearance is the most attractive, and a lot of us in the Black community are very familiar with the experiment that happened with the Black doll and the white doll. where the Black child was presented the option to play with the Black doll or the white doll and they always chose the white doll. And I've always felt like that experiment was a little flawed personally,

Rich:

It was probably tainted.

Nik:

I mean, I do because let's be clear, you cannot take a white doll, dip it in some brown paint, and then be like, here's your Black baby, because it's not going to be as pretty as the white doll. But if you actually took the time to create and mold a doll that looks like a Black person, and then held it up, then maybe she would actually she would have actually seen herself and chosen the Black doll. And it's so deep in terms of self-love for Black children. It is something that I feel is necessary. And again, the fact that this woman even chose to ask this question brings so much to the table.

Rich:

It's important to understand how this impacts our youth.

Rich:

So, the very first thing I actually thought of is when we were children. There was a doll for boys, which is you know, unheard of now, but It was called My Buddy and all the commercials for My Buddy were of a white little My Buddy you know he to me kind of like Chucky now that I think about it.

Nik:

The Chucky Doll?

Rich:

Yeah, I mean it wasn't the Chucky Doll it was the My Buddy Doll.

Nik:

Yeah.

Rich:

But he looked like Chucky right? And I remember that my parents went out for a Christmas and purchased a My Buddy for my little brother. And because he really wanted when he saw it on the commercials, you know, I mean, advertising has always done a great job of getting children to fall in love with what they want you to fall in love with.

Nik:

Around Christmas time especially.

Rich:

So, my younger brother, yes, I'm putting you on blast, man. So, if you listen, sorry. But anyway, he uh, he received this my buddy doll and my parents. I don't know how, but they found a Black My Buddy back in the early 90s. So, this doll did not look like the one that was on the commercials. He did not look like the ones that my brother's friends had. And my brother actually cried, and he did not want that My Buddy. It was because the My Buddy dog did not look like what had been marketed to him and what he believed it should look like.

Rich:

So, he, I remember and like my parents were like, all disgusted, probably because they felt like we went out of our way to find you this little chocolate, My Buddy guy that looks like you, like, why shouldn't your buddy look like you? And so that was the first thing I thought of when I read that article, because it showed the impact that a lack of representation can have on anyone.

Nik:

But it's just not representation in the toys. Right?

Rich:

Right.

Nik:

It's representation in the media because it was the media and advertisers that were pushing out this imagery of this My Buddy doll as if children of other hues and other skin complexions weren't going to be interested in buying this doll. So, it's not just representation in the toys, this representation and what we're watching, its representation in what we're listening to, its representation in every single aspect, and in the school system, right?

Rich:

Yes.

Nik:

I'm very close to one of the principals of a high school here in our school district. And we were talking about a situation that was happening at her school with her students. And I said to her, I said, you know, what the problem is, is that your faculty and your staff is not representative of the population of the students at your school.

Rich:

Right.

Nik:

So, some of these issues that are happening is simply because your staff and your faculty does not look like the students when you brought this article to my attention. I immediately started you know; my mind just goes all over the place anyway. But with this one, it really just went 15, 20, 45 different ways. Because I think representation is so important, not just for our children to grow up seeing it, but for us as parents to make sure that our children are exposed to it.

Rich:

I have friends that work in corporate America. And there's a lack of representation when you start talking about, you know, the C suite. There's a lack of representation. You know, of course, we all know in education, and it's not just because we're in Denver, it doesn't matter where you go. There's a lack of representation in the education system at higher ed. I mean, just across the board, there's a lack of representation. And I think that for me, it's easy to see it because I live it.

Nik:

Right.

Rich:

I feel like it's one of those things that can easily be overlooked, because you don't even notice it. You know, but I remember when I was an officer in the military, and there was an officer that was transitioning out and he told me, hey, it's hard. He said, because there are going to be times where you are the only in the room and your voice is going to be speaking for every single person of color in the unit. Or, you know, and that's just that's hard when that pressure is being put on you all the time, that you are representing the culture as a whole, for every thought, every sentence, every step, every mistake, everything you do, and when you don't have representation that is equal or reflective of the environment that's what you find yourself in a lot of times.

Nik:

It is. But I guess I want to pose the question, why is representation so important? Like we say yes, it's important. Why? Why is representation

Rich:

You know, what, the first time that I saw Black people in leadership positions across the board, I'm talking police chiefs, Fire Chiefs, nurses, doctors, lawyers, businessmen and women, was when I left Wichita, Kansas and moved to Atlanta, Georgia to go to Clark Atlanta.

Nik:

I agree.

Rich:

I was able to see that I could do anything. And Prior to that, I don't want to say that I didn't believe I could be anything, no, I don't want to say that I didn't think I could be anything. I didn't believe I could be anything. It's almost when President Barack Obama was elected president.

Nik:

Yeah.

Rich:

And all these people from my grandparents, who have lived through everything but slavery that Black people been put through, to my parents, to myself, to my nieces, my nephews, it was like, we're not just saying you can be president because it sounds good. We actually have representation to show you that it's truly possible because it's happened.

Nik:

It's a tangible example. And so we have these conversations privately all the time, where I say those things that are tangible, that people can see, touch and feel, it's easier for them to hold on to and like you, my first experience of seeing Black people do everything under the sun was when I moved to Atlanta, Georgia. And it was so profound and powerful to me, as a budding woman to see that and to be able to see, like, of course, you know, you're told as you grow, you can do anything. You can be what you want to be. But if you've never seen anybody that looks like you doing, what you want to do, how do you even know it's possible? And I remember when our children were little, and Barack Obama was elected in 2008, right? So, our kids were four and six. And I cried A) because nobody ever thought a Black man with a Black wife and a whole Black family would be living in the White House. But B) because this was the reality that my kids got to grow up in. My kids got to grow, like to them a Black man in the White House is normal,

Rich:

Right. It's not an abnormal thing. It's not something that they're like, could it really happen? Like is it possible? You're talking, but is it real?

Nik:

Exactly. So, it was, it's normal for them. It's normal for them to see Black dentists and Black doctors and Black attorneys and Black people on the news and Black people who are in the C suite and owning their own businesses. So, for our kids, it has been intentional in some ways and accidental in other ways, right? There were some things that were in our control and other things that weren't, where we made sure that they have seen this representation.

Rich:

It's important to understand that it's not just our children that are seeing it, it's not just African American children that are seeing these things. It is America, it is the world. So, where there were generations being told they were less than, that they weren't smart enough that they couldn't, and the world believed that. Now, we are seeing that we are more than capable. We've always been more than capable. But it's actually being, I think, in some ways, presented in a way that people can actually see that and believe that?

Rich:

And does that mean that there's no racism that there's still not room for improvement? No, that's not what I'm saying. But we can't take an article like this and then be angry that someone's asking the question, because I think that's the important part, too. We have to as Black people make sure that it is a safe environment

Nik:

Yes.

Rich:

for those that want to have growth and want to have those questions for them to actually be able to ask them.

Nik:

Yeah.

Rich:

Because if we, as the people that feel these things every day, aren't willing to share our experiences, aren't willing to have conversations about it. And we just get on the defensive immediately, like, why are you asking that question? You know, why would you think it's okay to buy my Black child or white doll or whatever, then we're not helping growth in these areas. All we're doing is tearing people down and now they're gonna go back to well, I don't even, like because they're honest people just like this that are legit asking a real question because they don't know.

Rich:

So, I think it's important to understand that while there's been growth, and while there's room for growth, we can stop the growth if we aren't helping with it. If we aren't in a positive mindset when we're answering these questions when we're not, when we choose to be on the defensive all the time.

Nik:

What I credit social media for is bringing a lot of this to light. If it weren't for social media, I don't think a lot of children, teenagers, or even adults, would even have exposure to some of these things. And I would even go as far to say that this woman who initially asked this question, the article, probably asked the question because of the social media exposure and the education, that if you're open minded enough that you can get from social media.

Rich:

And I think that's great, you know, because like I said, earlier, when we were talking about, you know, the expectation our children have now, that these conversations are happening now, because of those things that have happened. And I can't wait to see what the next generation looks like. You know, I think that right now, there's a lot of focus on us going backwards or the negative things that are happening sometimes. But there's a lot of positivity, that if we get behind it and focus on that, that we can take our country even to greater heights and better places.

Rich:

You know, that doesn't mean that there's not room for growth. But we can't always just be so negative in our community, we have to stand on the fact that we have had a lot of growth, we've had a lot of progress, and a lot of doors opened. And like I said, that doesn't mean that we don't continue to push forward for better representation or that we don't continue to push for better education across the board. But at the end of the day, we also can't just wallow in the mud all day either.

Nik:

Naw. Them days are over. Them days are over.

Nik:

Thanks, so much for tuning in to this week's episode of the Naked Proverbs podcast. We want you to truly have a happy marriage. We want you to continue to thrive in your marriages and indulge in your spouses on a regular basis.

Nik:

Don't forget to follow the Naked Proverbs on whatever podcasting platform you are listening on. And we will talk to y'all in the next one.

Rich:

Peace.

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